I always look for trends, especially emerging or changing trends.

As I advise young people, a couple of my “clients” recently spoke about pursuing a career with the FBI. At first I thought it was just a coincidence. And, based on my own or my generation’s experiences, a very different choice. Then, a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, contains¬†a supplement which shows the Most Attractive Employers based on a large survey of young people just entering the work force. The survey breaks down the 100 top choices for students graduating with degrees in five disciplines: business, engineering, computer sciences, natural sciences and the humanities.

The FBI is in the top ten of three of these categories of graduates and in the top twenty of the other two! For the business graduates, the FBI, at number 10, was above Amazon, Coke and a number of well known CPA firms, consulting firms and large banks. The CIA was also in the top 20 for three categories of graduates. A host of other government agencies were ranked in the top 100 most attractive employers and included: the State Department, the Armed Services, the EPA, Veterans Affairs, and the National Institutes of Health.

Now, I could easily understand a number of the graduates’ top choices, like Google, Apple, Disney or even Nike. But the FBI?

So, in  talking with a couple friends, I concluded a new trend may be occurring with this young group we call Millenniums. Many want what they consider to be more meaningful jobs that somehow contribute to the world rather than just making money. Many also want more balanced work and personal lives versus the seven day, twelve hours a day required by investment banking, giant law firms and consulting practices. Some may seek the attraction or thrill of intelligence work. My own generation and subsequent ones may have had some of these traits but not to this extent.

To those seeking a career with the FBI, I have a couple thoughts. Cleveland, Ohio, where I am from, is one of the FBI’s largest regional offices. Eliot Ness even spent a lot of time there. We have gotten to personally know a couple of agents there. They have certain qualities in common. They are of average height, thin, speak very little and you sense they are watching everyone most of the time. And they agilely move like a young Steve McQueen or today’s Jet Li. One of my young “clients” was recently at a group interview with a handful of FBI agents. He said they looked and acted just like this. So even the FBI has a leadership style and a unique culture which you need to consider and whether you would be a good fit. I am sure that the CIA and the other branches or agencies of our government also have their own characteristics and preferred profiles for people they like to recruit. So do your research on this just as you should to pursue a corporate job.

I also have some advice for our U.S. Government. Right now we have the lowest ratings ever for our elected officials in Congress and the Executive branch. The current presidential campaigns, for both parties, are not making our feelings toward Washington any better. BUT we have all kinds of young graduates who want to work for the FBI and a number of other parts of our government. So what if we recruit a lot more people for the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. We could make the country a bit safer and maybe develop some future leaders who people might actually like and respect. How do we pay for this in our tough Federal Budget crunch? We could start by cutting the pay, staff, travel expenses and free lifetime pensions and medical care we currently provide to a Congress that most people hold in low regard!

Now this could be a positive new trend!

P.S. My book, The Business Zoo, should be available by the end of September on Amazon and Kindle!